Restaurant: Peppone Restaurant
Location: 11628 Barrington Ct, Los Angeles, CA 90049. (310) 476-7379
Date: November 11, 2022
Cuisine: 1970s Italian American
Jeffrey was clamoring for months to visit Peppone in Brentwood for Old School Italian eats.
I, myself, hadn’t been in 15 or 20 years!
Not that the interior changed. It hasn’t changed since disco was king! This place opened in around 1971 and looks it. All the hot girls were there too (later) — just the girls who were hot in the 70s!
At the bar.
The petrified menu.
From my cellar: 2012 Borgo del Tiglio (Nicola Manferrari) Collio Studio di Bianco. 95 points. Borgo del Tiglio’s flagship 2012 Studio di Bianco is the most precise, sculpted wine in the range. Lemon peel, white flowers and crushed rocks are some of the nuances that take shape in a wine that deftly balances the richness and tension. As is often the case, I expect the Studio will need a few years in bottle to truly open up and show the full breadth of its personality. (Drink between 2017-2027)
Cheesy Garlic Bread with Marinara Sauce. I didn’t try these (avoiding the carbs) but people said they were pretty good. But they do start off tonight’s “sauce” theme, even if it’s a dipping sauce in that EVERY dish served was covered in a sauce.
From my cellar: 2018 Azienda Agricola Valentini Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. VM 92. Bright pink. Minerals, fava beans, pomegranate and violet on the bright nose. Then very harmonious in its acid-fruit-tannin profile, with lively balanced acidity nicely extending the flavors similar to the aromas on the long back end. Strikes me as a rather refined, sneakily concentrated Cerasuolo. (Drink between 2019-2025)
Jumbo Artichokes Venetian. Not only is this pretty hideous (and decidedly messy) but it was probably the worst artichoke I remember having. The sauce was just vaguely salty and the artichoke itself was very thick and heavy and it was difficult to scrape any meat off of the leaves. This is an easy dish and can be delicious steamed with butter, garlic, and a bit of salt — don’t complicate it.
Baked Zucchini Blossoms. Ugly as hell, but actually fairly tasty. The overall texture was much like an omelet as the blossoms were smashed flat and slightly soggy. A fairly tasty brown sauce of some sort was sort of drizzled over it.
Escargots. Another looker! Passible, but these shelled snails were drowned in this mysterious brown sauce. Straight French-style garlic butter escargot are much better.
Scampi Vesuvio. Nicely cooked shelled shrimp were soaked in the vesuvio sauce which seams to be butter, lemon juice, and some seafood “juice.”
From my cellar: 1965 Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classico Riserva. VM 97. Garnet-tinged red. Aromas of raspberry, red cherry, dried flowers, licorice and smoky spices complicated by white pepper and herbs. Suave on entry, then sweet but gripping in the middle, with harmonious acidity giving terrific definition and lift to the multifaceted flavors of red berries, minerals, iron and spices. A wonderfully creamy, almost fleshy Chianti with utterly silky tannins. Offers amazing vibrancy while saturating the entire palate without conveying any impression of weight on the extremely long finish. A great wine from a vintage that received mixed reviews at the time, with some producers liking it a lot, and others much less so. The general consensus, though is that it was inferior to both 1964 and 1966.
Would have been home on the original opening list!
Pasta Trio with Rigatoni with Italian Sausage, Fettuccine Alfredo, and Lobster Ravioli. Three “classic” pastas. The good one was the Rigatoni which was quite al dente and had a nice Italian American Sausage sauce. The Fettuccine was mushy and just tasted like cream. The Ravioli sauce tasted mostly like salt with almost no lobster shell (aka bisque) taste.
From my cellar: 2002 Romano Dal Forno Valpolicella Superiore Vigneto di Monte Lodoletta. VM 94. Dal Forno’s 2002 Valpolicella is a massively endowed effort revealing backward dark fruit, new leather, spices, herbs, roasted coffee beans and toasted oak on an imposing, tannic frame. Made in a super-concentrated style – even by Dal Forno’s standards – it will require several years of cellaring for the tannins to soften somewhat, although it is hard to imagine that will ever completely happen. Beginning with the 2002 vintage Dal Forno’s Valpolicella is made from 100% dried fruit, whereas in previous vintages the wine had been made only partially with dried fruit. (Drink between 2013-2017)
Sweetbreads Pompei, Sandabs in Padella, and Chicken Livers Flambee. These were all actually pretty good. The Sandabs were fabulous, albiet coated in another of those salty old fashioned sauces, but they were very delicate and moist (drowned). The Sweetbreads were also good, but hard to tell under the sauce. The Liver was my least favorite but it was still solid for liver of this sort as it was soft and not chewy or heavy.
From the ancient list: 1989 Gaja Barbaresco Costa Russi. VM 97. The 1989 Barbaresco Costa Russi is a thrilling wine that literally takes my breath away – and that comes from someone who usually isn’t the hugest fan of this particular wine. In 1989 the Costa Russi offers a touch more roundness and spiciness than the Barbaresco. The fruit here is super-luxurious and silky, while the tannins possess remarkable polish. The finish remains firm and full of life. Even 20 years ago Angelo Gaja and Guido Rivella were making wines most producers would kill for today. Simply put this is a magical bottle; I only wish I owned it. Wow. (Drink between 2013-2030)
Sausages Pizzaiola. This seemed more like sausages and peppers. But regardless the sausage itself was great, classic Italian America with a nice bit of fennel. Sauce worked well making it like a good street Sausage and Peppers. The old fashioned veggies lol. Steamed with maybe a bit of butter. Drowned in the sauce they were actually fine as they were still reasonably crunchy — but so old fashioned!
Vitello Saltimbocca. Hard to find the veal under all that sauce, and it was salty, but it was also tender and pretty delicious.
Lamb Osso Buco with Gnocchi. I usually expect Osso Buco to be vertical with more fat and collogen and this is more reminiscient as a cut to a Middle Eastern lamb shank, but the meat was delicious. The Gnocchi were a bit chewy, not the light fluffy ones that are best.
Sautéed Mushrooms. Ugly delicious for sure! Looks like a bowl of dog food, but these mushrooms, nearly invisible under the thick salty brown sauce were quite delicious. Certainly it was all about the salty mushroom (and maybe beef) sauce.
Yar! Ghostly skeletal praline pirates are marauding — Pecan Pirate Praline Gelato — An eggy Texas Pecan base layered with my creepy skull-shaped New Orleans style Vanilla Bourbon Pecan Pralines and Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Pumpkins — made by me for @sweetmilkgelato — #SweetMilkGelato #gelato #dessert #icecream #FrozenDessert #nomnom #dessertlovers #dessertporn #icecreamlovers #gelatoitaliano #foodporn #gelatolover #food #foodgasm #foodblogger #dessertgasm #desserttime #foodphotography #gelatoartigianale #gelatomania #dessertlover #icecream #icecreamlovers #vanilla #bourbon #pecan #praline #candy #halloween #spooky
We were joined tonight by the lovely and vivacious Lisa of LisaEatsLA. Plus her boyfriend.
Overall, the room at Peppone is gorgeous. The clientele consists of 1968 California Girls dolled up and ready to party — in 2022. The waiters have all probably worked here for decades and they were great. Very nice, very knowledgeable, efficient. Our meal did take mysteriously long. They kinda did that thing where they ignored us a bit until the bulk of the crowd (which had seated before us, even though we at at 7pm) thinned out.
Food was better than I thought, but OMG the hideous plating and all that sauce. Literally every single dish is drowned in a barely identifiable heavy sauce. The driest dish was the Garlic Bread (which also included a sauce). And it’s just poured over. And it’s all so 1970s. I love sauce but this was a bit much. And we aren’t talking a precise french Beurre Blanc or even a peerless Marinara but these heavy sloppy butter based “brownish” sauces. Plus the antiquated veggies. However, must dishes were pretty tasty in a salty buttery way. Pastas were weak. We didn’t try dessert.
They do have a pretty well priced big wine list. It’s poorly spelled and only sometimes includes vintages but we did manage to find a fantastic 1989 Gaja Russi for $349 (which is probably about retail).